Posts tagged Music
A Message from our Music & Worship Minister

I was inspired by the middle school and high school youth of our church as they returned from two different trips this summer; both groups were immediately eager to share with me and with all of us the music they learned! Some of the songs were new to me, some were songs we sing regularly, and some songs I hadn't heard for many years. Whether it was familiar or new music, hearing our youth sing and play these songs with the energy and enthusiasm of their shared camp experiences was infectious. Senior high youth who had served in home repair ministry in Savannah, Georgia eagerly accepted my invitation to help lead our congregation in worship on August 4, and they did a fantastic job. Soon, we'll have a group of confirmation camp youth share some of the music they sang in worship as well.

Let's never forget to appreciate the youth and adults who volunteer their time and talents to help lead us in worship week after week. Take a moment to mentally imagine yourself in the position of getting up in front of people and making music for the Lord--it takes courage! I love seeing the way our church treats our young people, not as the church of tomorrow but as the church of today. And, our young people have responded accordingly; they inspire me when they bravely choose to try playing their musical instrument or singing into a microphone in front of a hundred people for the very first time. What this tells me is that God's spirit is moving in our community, and we are receptive to that spirit when we build a community where people of all ages feel safe and loved enough to take the risk of stepping out in faith.

As always, the doors to participation are wide open! Our youth music rehearsals this year consolidate to one rehearsal from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Wednesdays starting on September 11. This rehearsal will now encompass both Youth Band and Youth Choir, and will often now include more sectionals and more personalized instruction. To that end, I'm in the process of seeking a few more adult volunteers with musical experience who would be able to help me lead these sectionals. If you're interested (even if you can only be there some weeks), please get in touch! If your youth is ready to sign up to participate, you can register using the same form in which you sign up your students for Sunday School and Wednesday night activities. You'll find the registration form at under the "Learn" menu (tap "Registration"), or you can go directly to

Our adult choir rehearsals (open to all adults and high school youth, and to middle school youth who have obtained my permission) are on Tuesdays from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. starting on September 10. There is no audition, and it's a fun and multi-generational group... and we have snacks!

There are lots of other ways to be involved as well, including praise band, tech team, brass and orchestral music, and lots of organizing and behind-the-scenes work. For more information on how to serve God and our church through music and the arts, visit, come find me after church or email me at Looking forward to a great year of worshiping our amazing God with our hearts, hands, and voices!


Ukulele Songwriting Camp is Aug 5-7

Abiding Presence is proud to partner with Sound Impact to host
Ukulele Songwriting Camp for ages 5-10.
9:30 am - 12:30 pm daily

Discount code: UkePromo

You may have seen the announcement in our bulletin these last few weeks, but I just wanted to send out a quick reminder message, as there are almost enough people registered for the camp to run!

Instructor Jessica Sammis (whom you may have heard playing cello at our contemplative services) has offered our families a discount code which brings the tuition down from $199 to $129. Use the discount code UkePromo at checkout to save $70. Discount is valid now through 7/26, so don't wait. For more information and to register your child, go to

I am not exaggerating when I tell you: the instructors for this are truly excellent musicians, and cool people. If you've been looking for an affordable, high-quality, fun, and creative arts experience for your kids this summer, this is it!

Make a Joyful Noise to the Lord!
David Chávez, Music & Worship Minister

P.S. Sound Impact is a non-profit group of professional musicians doing a variety of awesome work in music education and outreach, including educational residencies and performances in schools and juvenile detention centers, masterclasses and instrument donations in Costa Rica, and more. Read more about their important work and the musicians who do it at

David ChavezMusic, Children
The Music of Mardi Gras Jazz Concert

Sunday, April 28 at 4:00 p.m.

Abiding Presence is celebrating the Easter Season with a Spring Jazz Concert! The Shenandoah Conservatory Jazz Ensemble will be performing, bring a friend and come experience a joyful and lively evening of amazing music! A freewill donation will be collected to support the work of our Dominican Republic Mission Team.

Join the Adult Choir for Holy Week

Even if you don't normally participate in our adult choir, you are invited to be part of it for Holy Week and Easter. The choir will be singing on Palm/Passion Sunday (April 14) at the 11:00 AM service, Maundy Thursday (April 18) at the 7:45 PM service, Good Friday (April 19) at the 7:45 PM service, and Easter Sunday (April 21) at the 10:00 AM and 11:15 AM services!

All adults and high school youth are welcome to sing. Middle school youth can sing, too, with the Music and Worship Minister’s permission. Rehearsals (with snacks afterward!) to participate in choir for Holy Week are on:

Tuesday, April 9, 7:30-9:00 PM

Tuesday, April 16, 7:30-9:00 PM

Saturday, April 20, 10:00-11:30 AM

Sheet music and part-by-part practice tracks (for learning the individual voice parts even if you don't read music!) are available at starting April 1. Questions? Talk to David Chavez, Music and Worship Minister, after church or email him.

Bridge-building through Music

Last year, one of my (Dave’s) proudest moments as your Music & Worship Minister was helping lead Vacation Bible School crew of 4th-6th graders as they put on a sing-along-puppetry show for residents in the memory care unit of our local Sunrise senior living community. I was inspired, not just because this group of young people did a great job and comported themselves admirably (which they did!) but also because they did so out in the community, beyond our walls. I saw Christ in how they made music with and for folks outside their usual church family, and in the joy written on the faces of the residents.

One of my big-picture music/arts/worship ministry goals is to share more with those outside the four walls of our sanctuary. By this time next year, each of our primary music ensembles will have a new established tradition: at least once every year, we will either play/sing outside the walls of our building, or we will host a music event designed to welcome the community.

This Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m., a quintet of instrumentalists (Craig Fraedrich, Mike Dyson, Natalie Franke, Breanna Gromicko, and myself) will represent Abiding Presence at an interfaith concert in Annandale, and you're all invited! (Tap here for address and directions.) The theme of the concert is "Love Thy Neighbor," and will also include performances by Jewish, Buddhist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Latter-day Saints ensembles. While we may not share the same beliefs and theology with everyone in attendance, we can certainly affirm a common commitment to loving one another.

My hope and prayer is that the music we make at Abiding Presence grows more and more into a bridge-building, Jesus-like-welcoming, connection-forming ministry. I see music-making as a vital way for us to break through the barriers that keep us from fully loving our neighbors. If you have ideas for ways you would like to help extend our music & arts ministries out into the community, please come and talk to me! You can find me after church, or email me ( And even if you can't make it Sunday evening, please pray for our musicians and our community; may all grow to love more like the God who loved us first.

CoverDavid ChavezMusic
Contemplative Worship Service—Sunday, 5:30 p.m.

Join us for a space of stillness, silence, music, and prayer in our first quarterly contemplative adult worship service—Sunday, February 10 at 5:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary. In Psalm 46, we hear “Be Still and Know that I am God.” Being still, though it sounds simple, is really a tall order in our fast-paced world of Northern Virginia! So come as you are, set down your load of worries, cares and to-do lists and just be present with God and one another. Contact Pastor Heidi with any questions and invite others who may enjoy a calm and quiet space to pause and reflect (plus another opportunity to walk the labyrinth).

David ChavezWorship, Music
Adult Choir Rehearsals — Open to All!

Is one of your New Year’s Resolutions to get more involved in church? To sing more? To get closer to God in worship? Or, do you just love to sing? Our adult choir is open, and fun!

Rehearsals are on Tuesday evenings from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. from September to May. During rehearsals, we sing the music for upcoming Sundays and special events, going over any tricky parts bit by bit. We also laugh a lot, and eat delicious snacks!

The choir sings music of all eras, from Medieval and Renaissance to contemporary, accompanied by varied instrumentation (a cappella, organ/piano, orchestra, etc.). As worship leaders during the Sunday morning 11:00 traditional service and various special services, the choir is integral to supporting congregational participation in worship. If you love to sing, this is a great way to be involved! Choir is open to all adults, high school students, and (with director permission) middle schoolers.

Learn more at

ENewsDavid ChavezMusic, Worship
Great & Wondrous Mystery Cantata Service (Fourth Saturday of Advent)

Our Saturday Vespers service for this final weekend of Advent features the premiere of a new cantata by our music minister, David Chávez, featuring the Abiding Presence Chamber Orchestra and guest soloists:

Melissa Chávez, soprano
Natalie Naudus, mezzo-soprano
Michael Forest, tenor
[tap links above to learn more about our soloists]

Great & Wondrous slide Cantata v1.jpg

Q: What is a "cantata"?

A: Many of the best-known works of the most famous Lutheran composer, Johann Sebastian Bach, are cantatas. In fact, there were points in his career in which he wrote a new cantata weekly as part of his church job... in addition to playing the organ, directing the choir and orchestra, maintaining instruments, and on and on! Luckily, many of his twenty children had great musical talent as well, so one would suppose they helped out. The easiest was to think of a cantata is like a shorter version of an oratorio or unstaged opera––that is, like, Handel's Messiah but in miniature form so it fits within a regular church service. A cantata usually has a story or unifying idea, told across multiple movements by singers and orchestra. Our cantata on Dec. 22 features fabulous guest soloists with members of the Abiding Presence Chamber Orchestra.

Q: Why is the cantata called "Great & Wondrous Mystery"?

This cantata is inspired by an ancient Orthodox hymn of the same name, "Great and Wondrous Mystery," and especially by a recording of this hymn from the Forty Martyrs Church in Aleppo, Syria. This idea of opening oneself to mystery is central to worship in many Eastern Christian traditions. According to an Armenian Orthodox writer describing this hymn, "Rather than being a state of ignorance and lack of knowledge, mystery is the beginning of worship. It’s the place of awe where we realize the shadow God’s vast glory and divine infinitude. It’s the place where we dare not attempt to understand or grasp with our feeble and flawed minds, so instead we bow before Him in worship...The Mystery is the Incarnation – Jesus Christ revealed among us, the Son of God, who became a human being in order to fill us with His divine blessings, with eternal life, so that we would become like Him. The mystery is the reality of God with, among, and in us."

ENewsDavid ChavezMusic
Advent Evensong this Saturday

Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018, 6:00 p.m.

Q: What is "evensong"?
A: According to, evensong is a "peace-inducing church service in which the ‘song’ of voices sounding together in harmony is heard at the ‘even’ point between the active day and restful night, allowing listeners time for restful contemplation." The tradition of sung evensong as it is known today goes back to Reformation, and is still part of the worship life of many Anglican, Episcopal, and other churches today, particularly in the U.K. However, the roots of evensong lie centuries earlier in the the monastic practice of the "Divine Office" or "Liturgy of the Hours," which are short prayer liturgies chanted at certain hours each day and night––as many as eight times every 24 hours! Like most evensong services, ours draws from the hours of Vespers (Evening Prayer) and Compline (Night Prayer). In a basic sense, each Saturday when we gather at Abiding Presence to sing our vespers service, we are continuing the tradition of which Evensong is a part. However, nowadays the word "evensong" usually refers to a music-filled evening service featuring plenty of choir singing. Our service features chants based on the tune VENI EMMANUEL (better known as "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel") with our Abiding Presence Choir and Handbells.

David ChavezMusic
Meet our Jazz Vespers Musicians
Advent Jazz Vespers 2018 promo slide v1.jpg

We thank our musicians who made the Advent Jazz Vespers service special!

Jacob Aguglia, vocals

David Chávez, piano

Craig Fraedrich, trumpet, arranger, and leader

Jacob Pembelton, bass

Quinn Sherman, drums

Bios below:

Hailing from Buffalo, New York, Jacob Aguglia is a Freshman BFA in Acting Major at Shenandoah University. Though his main art form is acting, he is also very heavily involved with the Music Program at SU. He is involved in the SU Jazz Ensemble as trumpet player and vocalist, and has also been a featured vocalist with the SU Little Big Band. He is in the Shenandoah Chorus and a member of the "Buzzin' Dozen Pep Band". In his previous years, he has sung at the NYSSMA Conference All-State festival in the Vocal Jazz (2017) and Mixed Choir (2016) ensembles. He has also played and sung with funk-rock group "French Quarter Hounds" and jazz-fusion group "The Progressions". 

David E. Chávez is a composer, collaborative pianist, music theory professor, church musician, music director, and podcaster. His compositions include the opera Norton: A Civil War Story, which premiered with Loudoun Lyric Opera in 2014, and works for classical and rock instrumental/vocal ensembles, solo songs, choral music, and film music. Dave regularly plays piano and electronics in an eclectic variety of collaborative groups and settings, including with Opera on Tap DC Metro. Current positions include Music and Worship Minister at Abiding Presence Lutheran Church in Burke, VA, and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Shenandoah Conservatory. David holds two degrees in music composition from Penn State, and is a doctoral candidate at George Mason University. More at

Jazz artist Craig Fraedrich has enjoyed a professional career as a performer and educator that spans over thirty years. He received his undergraduate degree in Jazz Performance from North Texas State University and Masters Degree from Arizona State University. He also studied at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Banff Center for the Arts. He was awarded music scholarships at each of these institutions. While in college he won numerous solo awards at jazz festivals throughout the country including:  The Elmhurst Jazz Festival, The Notre Dame Jazz Festival, The Wichita Jazz Festival, The UT-Austin Jazz Festival, The University of Arizona Flagstaff Jazz Festival and the University of California Berklee Jazz Festival where he was named the outstanding soloist of the Festival.  He was a winner of International Trumpet Guild Jazz Solo competition and leader/director of the first student combo to perform at the International Jazz Educators Conference.

Since 1986 he has performed as a featured jazz trumpet soloist with The Army Blues, the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Army and one of the few full-time jazz ensembles in the country. During that time he also served as the groups musical director, trumpet section leader and assistant group leader. In addition to performing, he has composed or arranged over 100 pieces for the band. As a member of this prestigious ensemble, Craig has traveled extensively both performing and serving as a clinician. In addition to visiting much of the United States, he has performed in Australia, Japan, Sweden, Norway, Germany, China, Ireland, St. Thomas and at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. He finished his career as a Sergeant Major, serving as the leader of the Army Blues and Element Leader of the Popular Music Element.

Craig has pursued a significant solo career as well. He has released twelve compact discs with his own groups and has appeared on dozens of others as a side-man. His release, So In Love (featuring NEA Jazz Master Dave Liebman) reached number twelve in national jazz radio play according to Billboard Magazine. His most recent, All Through the Night on Summit Records is now available. Other performance highlights have included an appearance as guest jazz soloist with the Brass Band of Battle Creek for the premier of Wycliff Gordons Tribute to Muhammad Ali as well as the Kennedy Centers presentation of Ramsey Lewiss Proclamation of Hope, both of which were recorded for PBS. Craig continues to maintain a busy schedule in the Washington D.C. area. He is a dedicated educator and has been a faculty member (Associate Professor) at the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music since 1989 and was a Lecturer at West Virginia University from 2013 to 2016. His duties have included:  teaching Applied Jazz Trumpet, Jazz Coaching (applied jazz lessons for any instrument) Music Theory, Jazz Theory, Jazz Arranging and Composition, Jazz Improvisation, Jazz Combos, the Little Big Band and has been the director of the Shenandoah Jazz Ensemble since 1999. Highlights directing the Jazz Ensemble included tours of Senegal West Africa with performances culminating at the St. Louis Jazz Festival and a tour of Ireland with a featured performance at the National Concert Hall.

Craig has published three books as part of the Practical Jazz Theory for Improvisation series. He has studied improvisation with Dave Liebman, Kenny Wheeler, Chuck Marohnic, Rich Matteson, Dan Hearle, Jack Peterson, and Frank Puzzullo. Additionally, he cites the remaining faculty at the Banff Centre for the Arts (1985- Dave Holland, John Abercrombie, Don Thompson, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, and Julian Priester) as major influences. His principal trumpet teachers have included Dennis Najoom, Dr. Leonard Candelaria, Don Jacoby, Dr. Wayne Cook, Steve Kossoris, Chuck Tumlinson and Ken Van Winkle.

Bassist and band-leader Jacob Pembelton is from Winchester, Virginia and grew up playing a menagerie of music. With beginnings in the church and coming from a moderately musical family, he starting playing the trumpet in 6th grade at Aylor Middle School and soon moved on to tuba. Outside of school Jacob became interested in the bass at the age of 13. After he saw a band perform and being draw towards the electric bass (bass guitar) he decided he had to get one. After a few years of learning the electric bass he began playing in youth bands through "The Rock Room", under the direction of Phil Zuckerman. During this time he wanted to make playing bass his primary focus at school and switched to playing upright bass. Although there was no orchestra program in his school system, the band director Ryan Dempsey allowed him to play upright bass in both the wind ensemble and the jazz band provided he could get an upright bass (which he did!).

Jacob first began actively performing with the modern rock group, "Justified Asylum", to which had had belonged to throughout high school. Moving towards jazz and blues, he played at the Blues House Festival in Winchester, VA with "The RR All-stars" and soon began taking lessons on upright bass with Inez Wyrick. Prepping him for the next step in music he went on to major in Jazz Studies at The Shenandoah Conservatory under Donovan Stokes. Since coming to college he has had the opportunity of working as a part of various recording projects, large ensembles, and live bands. Most notably was his time with the group "Bees?", in which he was on the recorded album "Buzzkill" and toured through NYC and north east. Currently Jacob is a member of both Shenandoah's Big Band and Little Big Band, various jazz combos, and leads the Sweet NOLA's Po'Boys. He actively gigs in Winchester, Washington D.C., and the Northern VA area.

When not playing the bass, Jacob enjoys apprenticing under Thomas Wolf in The Plains, VA. There he does maintenance, building, and restoring of the upright bass. Recently he finished a 18 month restoration of a 1900's German bass, that he plays as his main bass today!

David ChavezMusic
🚀Fall Music Ministry Rehearsals Launch! 🚀 Who, What, When?

Our Fall rehearsal schedules kick off starting RIGHT NOW in early September!

From the AP Mission Team 2018 trip to La Romana, Dominican Republic – This little guy was definitely eager to join the music ministry. May we all have the same boldness to make a joyful noise to the Lord!

We've expanded our Youth Choir rehearsals this year to weekly on Wednesdays. We'll also be expanding our outreach beyond our walls in most of our adult and youth ensembles! Why? We've got a really special music ministry at Abiding Presence, a blessing worth sharing. I invite you to join me in sharing your love of God, neighbor, and music in whatever way you feel most comfortable.

  • Do none of the groups listed below quite fit you? We're always looking for special soloists (vocal & instrumental), small ensembles (duets, trios, etc.), cantors (for Saturday 6:00 PM and Sunday 11:00 AM worship), audio-visual tech team, and office/library/logistical support volunteers.
  • Not sure where to start? Got a friend/family member (or yourself) who wants to get involved but isn't sure whether you/they have anything worth offering? Come talk to me (David Chávez, Music & Worship Minister) after church or email me. I'll buy you a coffee/tea/frapp and we can chat in a no-obligation way about ways to serve our faith family and community through music, worship, and the arts. All you need is willingness to serve, and there is a place for you at Abiding Presence.
  • Visit for more detailed information.
  • If you are interested in participating in any of these groups, email to be added to the email list, or just show up for rehearsal!

Alphabetical List of Ensembles

Abiding Presence Brass

  • Plays for various Sunday services and special services
  • Open to all adults, high school students, and (with director permission) middle schoolers
  • Scheduled as needed, according to individual availability
  • New for 2018-2019 — easy and fun “continuing ed” opportunities for adults who want to get back into playing brass (after not having played in some years!)

Abiding Presence Choir

  • Assists in leading worship at weekly 11:00 AM traditional service, plus select special services
  • Open to all adults, high school students, and (with director permission) middle schoolers
  • Rehearses Tuesdays 7:30-9:00 PM, starting Sept. 4
  • New for 2018-2019 — new specialized repertoire for “men’s choir” (tenors/basses), “women’s choir” (sopranos/altos), and lower-voice women (altos)

Abiding Presence Orchestra

  • Assists in leading worship in special services and major holidays throughout the year, and in select regular Sunday services.
  • Scheduled as needed, according to individual availability
  • New for 2018-2019 — premiere major new work for the final weekend of Advent (Saturday, December 22, 6:00 PM worship)

Children’s Choirs, directed by Lori Rossett

  • Assists in leading worship about once a month during the program year, plus special services and holidays. Participates in Christmas drama and Spring musical annually.
  • Open to all children from preschool through 6th grade; email to be added to the email list, or just show up!
  • Rehearse during Wednesday Night Gathering (half hour rehearsals grouped by age/grade level, starting Sept. 26. Please watch the weekly announcements and e-news for updates.
  • From Lori: We are looking forward to a great year. The children will be invited to participate in several church services during the year, a short Christmas production in December, and a musical in May. Please plan to join us on Wednesday nights. If you are not able to come every week, come as you are able. Check the full schedule of Wednesday night activities, as that will include other activities in which the children can be involved.

Hallelujah Ringers (handbell choir)

  • Assists in leading worship at various services about once a month during the program year
  • Open to all adults, high school students, and middle schoolers
  • Rehearses Wednesdays, 6:45-7:45 PM, starting Sept. 12
  • New for 2018-2019 — offsite mini-concert at a local retirement community to serve our neighbors through the ministry of music and friendship!

Praise Band

  • Assists in leading worship weekly at 8:45 AM praise service, as well as select special services
  • Open to all adults, high school students, and (with director permission) middle schoolers
  • Scheduled as needed (according to instrument/voice part, etc.), according to individual availability; rehearsals normally on Saturdays at 4:00 PM and on Sundays before worship
  • New for 2018-2019 — extend our ministry offsite by sharing (online) our experience via recordings, sheet music, and instructional resources! We intend to help resource similar congregations who wish to start a praise band ministry.

Youth Band

  • Assists in leading worship about once a month during the program year, and also with select special services and events
  • Open to all youth in 6th-12th grade
  • Rehearses Wednesdays, 5:00-6:00 PM, starting Sept. 12
  • Social events monthly — dinner outings, sporting events, mini-golf, etc.!

Youth Choir

  • Assists in leading worship on Sundays or special services about once per quarter
  • Open to all youth in 6th-12th grade
  • After a successful start last year, rehearsals this year will level-up to weekly on Wednedays, 7:45-8:30 PM, starting Sept. 26
  • Social events monthly — dinner outings, sporting events, mini-golf, etc.!
From the AP Mission Team 2018 trip to La Romana, Dominican Republic - Craig and Dave with musicians at Iglesia Bautista Luz Divina, our mission partner congregation

From the AP Mission Team 2018 trip to La Romana, Dominican Republic - Craig and Dave with musicians at Iglesia Bautista Luz Divina, our mission partner congregation

David ChavezMusic
Summer Choir July 22 and August 26

Come one, come all--adults AND youth (rising 6th graders and older)--no experience necessary! ALL are welcome, whether or not you usually participate in choir.

SUMMER CHOIR is on Sundays July 22 and August 26!

Join us at 9:45am in the Sanctuary to sing at the start of the 10:15am service.
(Even if you already attended the early service, why not stay a little longer and sing!?)

We're singing a simple harmony version of a couple songs, and helping lead the hymns. If you'd like to look at the sheet music or listen to the song ahead of time, tap here or the button below.

David ChavezMusic
Youth Choir & Band Nats Game Outing!

[Deadline Extended!]
As of the end of the school year...

Rising 6th graders are now officially eligible to participate in Youth Band and Youth Choir at Abiding Presence!

To officially welcome them to the groups (and just for a super-fun thing to do together!) we're going to a Washington Nationals home game vs. the Atlanta Braves at 1:35pm on Sunday, July 22.

We'll meet at Abiding Presence right after worship and head over together. Everyone should bring money to get lunch at the ballpark. Afterward, we'll visit an incredible ice cream place nearby that makes their own ice cream daily.

All rising 6th-12th graders interested in Youth Band and/or Youth Choir are welcome to join us! (You don't have to commit to anything long-term.) If you'd like to join us, please email David Chávez (Music & Worship Minister) at by the end of the day on Monday, July 2 so we can get a final count for ordering tickets.

Ticket prices will likely be around $15 to $23 depending on how many people go, but do not let cost be an obstacle to coming! If you need help purchasing a ticket, we will figure it out; just talk to me. I'm really excited about the work Youth Band and Youth Choir have already done, and the potential for musical growth and worship leadership among this year's amazing group of students!

For more information about Youth Choir and Youth Band, email or visit

Final Rehearsal Schedule for 40th Anniversary Festival Service
Photo by  Dolo Iglesias  on  Unsplash

Photo by Dolo Iglesias on Unsplash

Tuesday, May 15

  • 7:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. - Anniversary Choir rehearsal (all welcome, including past singers and any instrumentalists who would also like to sing in the choir; get sheet music and more info here). Anyone singing in choir is asked to come to at least one (or both) of the rehearsals on May 15 & May 19.

Saturday, May 19

  • 9:00 a.m. until 10:15 a.m. - Anniversary Choir rehearsal (all welcome, including past singers and any instrumentalists who would also like to sing in the choir; get sheet music and more info here). Anyone singing in choir is asked to come to at least one (or both) of the rehearsals on May 15 & May 19.
  • 10:00 a.m. until 11:15 a.m. - Praise Band & Orchestra rehearsal (overlaps by 15 minutes with choir rehearsal on purpose in order to rehearse one piece together; this rehearsal includes all instrumentalists, including everyone playing praise band-type instruments like electric guitar, drums, etc., and all brass instruments; praise band singers will rehearse at a separate TBA in separate email). This rehearsal also includes audio-visual tech team to get set up for Sunday; we will be able to leave all tech setup in place after rehearsal so we don't have to re-set-up Sunday morning.

Sunday, May 20

  • 8:15 a.m. - Praise Band & Orchestra pre-service rehearsal (including praise band singers)
  • 8:45 a.m. - Anniversary Choir pre-service rehearsal (including orchestra also)
  • rehearsals will end by approx. 9:20am in order to give everyone time to use the restroom, get a drink of water, etc.
  • approx 9:40 a.m. - prelude music starts
  • 10:00 a.m. - Festival Service official start time
Sing with Anniversary Choir on May 20!

Have you sung in choir any time during the 40-year history of Abiding Presence? Know anyone else who has? We're going to make our 40th Anniversary Festival Service at 10:00 a.m. on May 20 an opportunity for a giant music ministry REUNION! Spread the word, and see below for more info and music selections. You can even sing in Anniversary Choir if you've never sung before!

What are we singing?

In addition to leading the congregational singing, we will also be sharing two pieces during worship:

The congregational songs are as follows. Click the titles to view sheet music or listen to a recording. Titles marked by an * are going to be primarily led by the praise band, though choir is welcomed and encouraged to join in the singing!

When are we rehearsing?

Please come to at least one (or both) of the following rehearsals:

  • Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. (until 9:00 p.m.) in the Sanctuary
  • Saturday, May 19, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. (until 10:10 a.m.) in the Sanctuary

On May 20, we will gather at 8:45 a.m. prior to the start of the festival service at 10:00 a.m. Plan to get to Abiding Presence (directions) a little before 8:45 a.m. to find parking. For a more detailed schedule of all musical activities (including orchestra, etc.) that weekend, click here and feel free to share!

What are we wearing?

Since we hope to have a lot of singers, we won't wear choir robes. Everyone is asked to please dress nicely (decent slacks/shirt or dress) and include something red for Pentecost! The red can be a tie, an accessory, or as much of your outfit as you like!

Do we need to bring choir folders/binders?

Not necessary, but if you have one you prefer feel free to bring it. We will provide sturdy black binders for all who need them.

Who do I ask if I have questions?

David Chavez, Music & Worship Minister. Just send an email to

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David ChavezMusic
Meet our guest artists for Maundy Thursday (7:30 p.m. service)

This Maundy Thursday at 7:30 p.m., we welcome a special group of jazz musicians to help lead our worship service. Meet them below, and catch a preview of the service with this video of Christal singing Craig's arrangement of "I Am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger."

Christal Rheams

Read Bio | Listen

Craig Fraedrich

trumpet & arranging
Read Bio | View Website
Listen: Spotify | iTunes | Amazon

Chace Washington

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Jacob Pembelton

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David Chávez

piano & additional arranging
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David ChavezMusic
More about the history and significance of African American Spirituals and Shape-Note Singing

These two rich American traditions of hymnody and music learning form the basis for our Good Friday worship this year at 7:30pm. Learn more about the fascinating history behind the music...


It's hard to overstate the importance of spirituals in African-American culture. Here are some starting places to learn more about this rich heritage of music and its significance.

Shape-Note Singing

  • The Sacred Harp Musical Heritage Association sponsors a fantastic website packed with resources at
  • (sponsored by Western Carolina University and the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area) has some wonderful information on how shape-note singing is part of Appalachian culture
  • Smithsonian Folkways provides a detailed Shape Note Singing Lesson plan and associated resources intended for grades 3-8
Detail from a page from an early edition of  The Sacred Harp , a shape-note hymnal. Source: The Library of Congress ( ).

Detail from a page from an early edition of The Sacred Harp, a shape-note hymnal. Source: The Library of Congress (

David ChavezMusic
¡Carnaval Latino! Free Latin Jazz Concert, Pancake Supper, and Silent Auction for Mardi Gras

An afternoon of Latin Jazz with the 20-piece Shenandoah Conservatory Jazz Ensemble featuring the music of Tito Puente, Perez Prado, Machito, Dizzy Gillespie, Chano Pozo, Duke Ellington and more.
*Under the direction of the fabulous CRAIG FRAEDRICH*
~~~~Feb. 11, 2018~~~~
🔥LATIN JAZZ CONCERT🔥 at 4:00 p.m.
🔥PANCAKE SUPPER🔥 at 5:30 p.m.
The Abiding Presence Mission Team hosts this free concert (free will offering), silent auction, and pancake dinner to celebrate the Latin American "Mardi Gras" (pre-Lent) traditions and to support the work we are continuing in the Dominican Republic this coming August.

Questions? Visit (Click "I Want to Be a Part" button if you want to volunteer or donate to the silent auction!)

David ChavezFamilies, Adults, Music